The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank
|"The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Written by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Featured music||Tommy Morgan|
|Original air date||February 23, 1962|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
In the mid-1920s in a small rural town in the "southernmost section of the Midwest," a man, Jeff Myrtlebank, returns to life at his own funeral. The townspeople believe that the man must be possessed by a haint (a wandering demon), even though the town doctor declares it was more than likely a medical condition that imitated death. Jeff seems normal enough, yet he has changed: he has suddenly become a hard worker with exceptional strength, and he wants to marry his longtime girlfriend, Comfort. Comfort is loyal, but she is concerned about Jeff's changed personality.
As Comfort is about to respond to Jeff's marriage proposal, angry townspeople arrive to confront the demon they believe is possessing Jeff. Myrtlebank makes an inspired speech in which he tells them that they are wrong and have nothing to fear from him. He also slyly threatens that if he "just happened to be a demon," it might be in their best interests to be nice to him. They accept the wisdom of this, and promise to attend Jeff and Comfort's wedding.
After they leave, Jeff pulls out a pipe and produces a lit match from the air. When Comfort asks how he lit the match, he laughs and says "Comfort, you have got to stop imaginin' things." He puts his arm around her shoulders to take her inside. As they walk toward the house, the fence gate closes behind them on its own.
In his closing narration, Rod Serling says that Comfort and Jeff are still alive and bore a son who grew up to become a shrewd politician and US Senator. Serling says that the son is suspected to have earned his education in the Twilight Zone.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0